Volunteers needed for Grampians Sherpa program

Do you have a passion for the outdoors and enjoy helping people?

Parks Victoria is seeking volunteers to be trained as all-terrain wheelchair operators to help people with limited mobility to explore the Grampians National Park.

Parks Victoria Volunteer Coordinator, Katherine Dyson, said she hoped the pilot Volunteer Sherpa Program will enable more people with a disability to experience the great outdoors.

"All-terrain wheelchairs have been introduced to many popular parks across the state and are proving to be really popular. However, not everybody has someone who can push the wheelchair along the park trails," she said.

"This program will give people a great opportunity to help others enjoy the beautiful surrounds right here on our doorstep and I think it will be highly rewarding for all those involved.

"Research tells us that getting into parks and connecting with nature is good for people's mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing so the more people who can visit Victoria's beautiful parks, the better," Ms Dyson said.

"Volunteers will learn how to operate the all-terrain wheelchairs and which trails have good wheelchair access. They will also gain an insight into interacting positively with a person who is living with a disability."

Inductions will take place at 10am on Saturday, April 12 at Brambuk - The National Park and Cultural Centre. All willing and able volunteers are welcome.

Parks Victoria staff members will be joined by David Stratton, an advocate of the all-terrain wheelchairs who is living with a disability himself, to conduct the training.

Anyone interested in volunteering or attending the session can contact Katherine Dyson, Volunteer Coordinator Grampians National Park on 5361 4063 or email katherine.dyson@parks.vic.gov.au

The Sherpa Volunteer Program is part of a wider initiative across Victoria to improve park access for all.

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